I am working on my friend's laptop and it's a Gateway MX6441. It has 512MB RAM, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 1.79 GHz processor, and XP Media Center Edition (SP2) operating system. It has an 80GB hard drive (~68GB for the C:\ partition with 51.3GB free space, and ~7GB for the D:\ (recovery) partition)
She came to me recently describing her problem: "My music in iTunes is choppy (or skips) when it plays."
My initial thought was "No problem, I'll clean up any spyware/viruses that reside on it and uncheck any unnecessary startup items that are using system resources".
Here's what I've done so far:
--Ran scans with--
*Spybot Search & Destroy 1.6.0
*Trend Micro Office Scan (This is the AV solution that the University offers that she attends)
*HijackThis (Nothing unusual found)
**Note: I did not have two Anti-virus software packages installed at the same time. I first scanned with Trend Micro, removed it, and installed AVG 8.0, and then scanned with that one. Same with the Anti-spyware packages. Used one at a time, and did not have any of the resident shields in them turned on.
--I also used--
*Ccleaner to clear up temp and other files and fix registry errors
*Defragged the hard disk
*chkdsk /r to see if the disk has any physical errors (No errors)
*Manually went into C:\Temp, C:\Windows\Temp, C:\Documents & Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Temp, and any other temp folders and deleted the files within.
*Used msconfig to disable startup items that I deemed unnecessary.
*Used Sysinternals Process Explorer to try to find viruses/spyware that's hidden within processes. (nothing found)
*SpeedFan to check the systems temperatures (Hard Drive: 109 degrees Fahrenheit, CPU: 140 degrees Fahrenheit, Core: 138 degrees Fahrenheit)
--Where it stands now--
Using the several different scans, I did find a little bit of spyware and adware, no viruses or trojans, but it really was pretty clean already. I've been working on it for two days now and I've gotten a good feel for it on when it will be slow and when it will be okay. When idle, the computer is very responsive (i.e. mouse moves smoothly, start button expands quickly, moving icons on the desktop is quick, etc.) But the second I do anything that has to query the hard drive or start new processes it slows down to a crawl.
In the task manager, "System" process (with username "SYSTEM") and the System Idle Process are showing the most usage at any given time while I'm currently in the middle of installing Service Pack 3 from the 316MB redistributable .exe file of SP3. There are other processes getting CPU time, but these two are getting the most. And BTW, SP3 is taking a verrrry long time to install (way longer than it usually does).
Also, it acts the same way in Safe Mode.
I think that's everything...if not, I'll update this with more info.